Good management is imperative in any organization – helping define its vision, plan its course, allocate its resources, and marshal its troops. However, good management isn’t about consolidating power, but about learning to use it in service of both the larger organizational needs and the people working to make them a reality.
Management roles often involve overseeing financial, material, informational, and human resources. Each of these tasks requires a distinct skill set, from budgeting to motivating. But, at its heart, good management is always about flexible problem-solving.
What makes managers essential to an organization?
Management quality can make or break a workplace, with managers having the ability to do everything from increasing team productivity to opening up new business possibilities. Even in the most democratic settings, a leader is needed to oversee the collective vision and step in to help iron out any issues that arise on the path to mutual success.
Whether you’re a new manager or have been in a management role for quite some time, the same set of fundamental skills apply.
Managing people is at the core of being a manager and that often goes beyond just managing the work that needs to be done. It’s managing the person doing the work in a way that encourages their strengths, identifies their weaknesses, and balances that against the goals of the organization.
When managers have strong people skills, this helps them to build positive working relationships with their team, but also their leadership. A manager has a responsibility to help create a supportive work environment – that also will include managing conflicts as they arise.
Delegation is an essential skill for managers because it helps them achieve their goals efficiently while empowering their team members. To effectively delegate, a manager needs to distribute tasks based on their team members individual strengths, responsibilities, and areas where the employee can develop new skills. Effective delegation leads to increased productivity, better teamwork, and more job satisfaction for everyone involved.
This sets managers up so they can free up time for themselves to focus on higher-level tasks and strategic planning.
Communication is a fundamental skill for managers because it enables them to convey their ideas clearly, motivate their team, and build strong relationships with their colleagues. When managers communicate well, it can better their understanding of their employees’ needs and concerns. This also helps them to address and de-escalate problems before they get out of hand.
The right communication also fosters a positive work environment and boosts productivity. Managers who are skilled in communication are able to provide constructive feedback and praise, which leads to improved performance and job satisfaction.
A manager’s ability to coach employees effectively is fundamental to the job. Coaching allows managers to develop their employee’s potential and improve their performance. With the right coaching techniques, managers can create a supportive environment where employees feel empowered to take on new challenges, develop their skills, and achieve their goals.
By working closely with their employees, managers can gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and tailor their coaching to meet their specific needs. This also means managers can help to identify and address problems early on and come up with an effective solution before major issues arise.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Managers face a wide range of challenges that require them to think critically and solve problems creatively. Without these skills, managers may be more likely to make poor decisions. Managers need complete and accurate information to avoid wasted time, money, and resources. Having critical thinking and problem-solving skills allow managers to identify and evaluate their options, helping them choose the best course of action.
Understand Your Management Style
Many different management styles have been taught throughout recent decades and, though some, like the autocratic style that consolidates all decision-making power within a single individual, are now considered archaic, there are many other styles whose merits are still highly regarded today. These management styles include:
This management style uses several subject matter experts to help inform important decisions and add credibility to proposed solutions.
This management style relies on motivating by ensuring team members fully believe in the outlined plan of action and are willing to work hard to achieve its desired ends.
This type of management style allows team members to uniformly contribute to the decision-making process to ensure their wishes are guiding the company’s course.
With this management style, there is emphasis on setting up workplace incentives in a manner so the success of the organization and the success of the individuals within it are closely intertwined, allowing for minimal oversight.
No matter which management style best fits your personality or your organizational structure, you’ll often run into the need for delegating, coaching, and communicating directives – skills that will require formal training for effective performance. Though the argument over whether leadership is a skill or an art persists, the undisputed fact is that instruction benefits both of these disciplines.
Sharpening your management skills is an on-going process. As you progress in your own career, your unique experiences and challenges will allow you to flex the necessary skills. Specifically, here are a few ways you’ll find yourself developing your management skills:
Self-awareness is a crucial soft skill to have as a manager. It means you understand your own strengths and weaknesses and how it can impact your team. Using your self-awareness to understand where you fit into the success of your team and organization will help you become comfortable with making decisions. Towards that, take time to sit with yourself and practice self-reflection. Where do you think you did well and could improve on?
Build Rapport with Your Team
Your team is your greatest asset. Considering people skills is one of the most important skills to develop as a manger, finding ways to connect with your team becomes foundational to your success as a manager. This can include 1:1 meetings, team meetings, and finding opportunities to coach on the fly.
While getting feedback on your performance can feel overwhelming, it’s that feedback that will allow you to improve your skills. Feedback should be solicited from both your team members and supervisors.
Find Structured Management Training
Some organizations will offer in-house training. If you’re looking to be proactive and develop your skills further, consider taking management training from reputable training organizations (such as American Management Association).
Formal management training helps fill in the gaps, teaching people who are rockstars in their field to effectively coach others to the same heights, to strategically plan toward goals from a broader perspective, to manage risk across potential outcomes, and to communicate both up and down the organizational chart in ways that catalyze action.
Thousands of managers have taken this AMA seminar for help in effectively delegating work, motivating employees and keeping them engaged and on-track to meet performance goals.
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